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Did Salma Hayek diss her own Mexican heritage in a recent interview? The actress, who was born in Veracruz, appeared on the September cover of German Vogue to promote her film Savages. But in talking about her role as a Mexican cartel queen, Hayek, 45, made a puzzling comment about her home country.
"Honestly, I hardly had any memories of what it is to be Mexican. My life is completely different now," she reportedly told the magazine.
Another translation of the interview (which was printed in German) has Hayek saying, "Honestly, I barely had any recollection of what it's like to be a Mexican woman. My life is now completely different."
At this point, it's worth noting that the interview was presumably conducted in English, then translated to German, and is now being translated back into English. Factor in the fact that English isn't Hayek's first language, and some meaning is bound to be lost in translation... right?
Even so, the Hispanic community isn't happy about one of their most accomplished entertainers appearing to distance herself from her roots. The blog Guanabee ("Spicy Coverage for Latinos") asks, "What did Salma mean by basically saying she forgot what it's like to be a Mexican woman? That she's too French & rich for our blood?" (Hayek married French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault in 2009.) The backlash has spread onto Twitter, where one Spanish-speaking fan (as translated by The Huffington Post) commented, "Unfortunate declaration. Her fame affected her memory."
In the past, Hayek has often expressed pride in her Mexican heritage. A former telenovela star, she moved to Hollywood in her twenties, where she got her big break in 1995's Desperado. Seven years later, she produced and starred in the Oscar-nominated drama Frida, a biopic of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. She also executive-produced Ugly Betty, which transformed a hit Colombian telenovela into a hit U.S. series. Even in promotions for Savages, Hayek often defended Mexico against drug-trafficking stereotypes, saying that the United States was part of the problem.
"It means a lot to me that we're making this movie because I feel like when you hear about Mexico you only hear about the part that Mexico is very violent," the actress told Good Morning America. "But nobody talks about the part that we're right next to the United States... And all this violence that's happening there, it's done with American arms."
Noted for her humanitarian work, Hayek has also spoken out against discriminatory immigration laws, even admitting that she was an illegal immigrant for a short time. Controversial quote aside, it really seems like Hayek is proud to be Mexican and American.